Patrick Chambers has said he’s tried everything to get students to attend home games in the past two seasons.
From giving out free T-shirts to personally handing out Big Macs at McDonalds, Chambers has certainly gone the extra mile to praise students who have expressed interest in the Penn State men’s basketball program.
However, the second-year coach took these efforts to an new level Monday when he announced on State College’s B94.5 radio station he’ll be donating $10 to THON for every student who attends Thursday night’s 9 p.m. game against Iowa at the Bryce Jordan Center. Students will receive a pledge card upon entering the arena and with about five minutes remaining in the game, they will be collected to calculate Chambers’ total donation.
The Penn State Interfraternity Council/Panhellenic Dance Marathon will begin less than 24 hours after the Nittany Lions tip off with the Hawkeyes.
Without prior announcement, Chambers said on the radio show he wants to personally make a special donation to the event.
“This is what I want to do for THON,” Chambers said on the air.
Chambers has been a major proponent of THON ever since landing in Happy Valley, having given a motivational speech at the event last year.
More recently, Chambers completely shaved his head as apart of the “No Hair, Don’t Care” campaign, which THON initiated this year in one of its newest fundraisers.
Chambers will likely be leaving a hefty mark on THON this year, as more than 1,400 students have purchased season tickets this year, according to the team’s sports information director, Brian Siegrist.
“So if it’s 200 [students], it’s $2,000,” Chambers said. “If it’s 500, it’s $5,000. And we can keep going.”
Although the student section has not seen overwhelming turnouts through the trying season for the Lions — who are 0-11 in Big Ten play — Nittany Nation president Maddy Pryor said she expects this gesture to definitely help increase the section’s attendance.
Pryor said the announcement caught students off-guard due to its timing, but considering the type of man Chambers is, they weren’t too shocked.
The student section president added that there will also be free iPads and TV’s given away at the game, which altogether she expects will help bring in one of the biggest crowds this year.
“Whether they’re there for the game or there for fun, as long as they’re there in that seat,” Pryor said, “it’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
Chambers said on the radio show he only asks students planning to attend for one favor in order for their efforts to result in a donation.
“You got to stay the whole game,” Chambers said toward the students. “Don’t leave at halftime on me. These guys are trying. They’re out there practicing so hard. It’s only a matter of time. We’re close.”
Student tickets cost $5 for those without season tickets.